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Carter County, Oklahoma

Carter County, Oklahoma
Carter County Courthouse in Ardmore
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Carter County
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Founded 1907
Seat Ardmore
Largest city Ardmore
 • Total 834 sq mi (2,160 km2)
 • Land 822 sq mi (2,129 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (31 km2), 1.4%
Population (est.)
 • (2013) 48,491
 • Density 58/sq mi (22/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website .uscartercountyok

Carter County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 47,557.[1] Its county seat is Ardmore.[2] The county was named for Captain Ben W. Carter, a Cherokee who lived among the Chickasaw.[3]

Carter County is part of the Ardmore, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is also a part of the Texoma region.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Geology 2.1
    • Major highways 2.2
    • Adjacent counties 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • Politics 4
  • Communities 5
    • Cities 5.1
    • Towns 5.2
    • Unincorporated communities 5.3
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Prior to statehood, the present Carter County, Oklahoma, was part of Pickens County in the Chickasaw Nation of Indian Territory. After the Civil War, the government of the United States forced the Chickasaw government to allow railroads built across its territory. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway (controlled by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, AT&SF) built a line north from Texas to Purcell.

In 1901-1903 the Arkansas and Choctaw Railway (acquired by the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway in 1907) built a line from Arkansas to Ardmore. Oil production spurred further railroad development. In 1913-14, the Oklahoma, New Mexico and Pacific Railway constructed a line from Ardmore west to Ringling. In 1916, the Ringling and Oil Fields Railway laid tracks north from Ringling Junction to Healdton. These last two rail lines were abandoned in 1976.[3]

Oil and gas production began very early in the 20th Century. The Healdton field opened in 1913, and led to the development of Ardmore as a major oil production center. However, a disastrous fire occurred in Ardmore in 1915, when a railroad car exploded, killing 43 people and destroying much of the downtown. Ardmore and the local oil industry recovered, and the city also became a manufacturing center. Akron Tire and Rubber Company built and operated a plant in Ardmore as early as 1915. In 1970, Uniroyal built a tire plant there. It was acquires by Michelin North America in 1990. By the start of the 21st Century, manufacturing was the largest component of the county economy.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 834 square miles (2,160 km2), of which 822 square miles (2,130 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (1.4%) is water.[4]

The county contains parts of several physiographic regions, including the Arbuckle Mountains, the Coastal Plains, the Red Bed plains and the Cross Timbers. The northern part of the county drains to the Washita River, while several creeks drain the southern part directly to the Red River.[3]


The Healdton Field, encompassing Healdton and located in the western portion of Carter County, produces from the Pennsylvanian Healdton sands of the Hoxbar Group and the Ordovician massive carbonate Arbuckle Group.[5] The field is located on the "Healdton uplift", a northwest-southeast trending anticline, which formed with the Wichita Orogeny, and is 8 miles long and up to 3 miles wide.[6] This was followed by deposition of the Healdton sandstones and shales on pre-Pennsylvanian eroded rocks and subsequent folding during the Arbuckle Orogeny.[7] A prospector named Palmer drilled a shallow well, 425 feet, near an oil seep in the 1890s but Federal Law prohibited oil development on "Indian lands" until the early 1900s.[8] Therefore, the discovery of the field is credited to the drilling of No. 1 Wirt Franklin in 1913.[8]

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Age pyramid for Carter County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 45,621 people, 17,992 households, and 12,648 families residing in the county. The population density was 55 people per square mile (21/km²). There were 20,577 housing units at an average density of 25 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.4% White, 7.60% Black or African American, 7.92% Mexican, 0.60% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.13% from other races, and 4.45% from two or more races. 2.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 17,992 households out of which 32.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.50% were married couples living together, 12.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 23.20% from 45 to 64, and 16.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,405, and the median income for a family was $36,729. Males had a median income of $30,018 versus $20,877 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,511. About 12.70% of families and 16.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.70% of those under age 18 and 12.40% of those age 65 or over.


Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[15]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 16,546 58.67%
  Republican 8,282 29.36%
  Unaffiliated 3,376 11.97%
Total 28,204 100%
Presidential election results[16]
Year Republican Democrat
2008 70.27% 13,241 29.73% 5,603
2004 65.32% 12,178 34.68% 6,466
2000 58.74% 9,667 40.46% 6,659




Unincorporated communities

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d O'Dell, Larry. "Carter County," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed Mach 28, 2015.
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ Latham, J.W., Petroleum Geology of Healdton Field, Carter County, Oklahoma, in AAPG Memoir 14, Geology of Giant Petroleum Fields, Halbouty, M.T., editor, Tulsa: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, p. 255
  6. ^ Latham, J.W., Petroleum Geology of Healdton Field, Carter County, Oklahoma, in AAPG Memoir 14, Geology of Giant Petroleum Fields, Halbouty, M.T., editor, Tulsa: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, pp. 256-257
  7. ^ Latham, J.W., Petroleum Geology of Healdton Field, Carter County, Oklahoma, in AAPG Memoir 14, Geology of Giant Petroleum Fields, Halbouty, M.T., editor, Tulsa: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, pp. 255-256
  8. ^ a b Latham, J.W., Petroleum Geology of Healdton Field, Carter County, Oklahoma, in AAPG Memoir 14, Geology of Giant Petroleum Fields, Halbouty, M.T., editor, Tulsa: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, p. 256
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  12. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 

External links

  • Healdton: Oklahoma's First State-Regulated Oil Field
  • Carter County Government webpage
  • Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture - Carter County
  • Oklahoma Digital Maps: Digital Collections of Oklahoma and Indian Territory

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